News
Photo: Whitton Feer

Spotted: New tech at the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival

Cushcore expands line-up to fit gravel and XC tires. New mountain bikes from Revel and Esker. Lazer's Coyote helmet doesn't break the bank.

Sea Otter is only about a month away, which means cycling fans are about to be showered with news of new products galore. A handful of companies got the jump on the rest by announcing their new goodies at the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival in Arizona this past weekend. Here’s some of the product releases we spotted.

Cushcore Gravel/CX and Cushcore XC

Up until now, Cushcore’s tire liners lived only within large MTB tires. These liners help protect against pinch flats. They also change the characteristics of your wheel/tire combo. The liners allow you to run lower tire pressures while maintaining the integrity of the tire, particularly while cornering. The sidewalls won’t fold, which means you still get ample grip when the tire leans over. Tire liners are fast becoming standard equipment for mountain bikers, and Cushcore has led the way.

Now, XC riders can get in on the fun with Cushcore XC. These smaller, thinner liners work best with 1.8- to 2.4-inch tires and rims ranging from 22-32mm wide. Cushcore offers both a 27.5-inch wheel option and a 29-inch wheel option. Each liner weighs 143 grams and costs $149 for the pair (which includes valve stems). These will be available later in the spring, according to Cushcore representatives.

The Cushcore Gravel/CX brings the advantages of tire inserts to a much wider audience still. At just 99 grams per liner, the Gravel/CX liners fit 700c tires in widths from 33mm to 46mm, and rim widths from 19-26mm. Like the XC liners, the Gravel/CX option costs $149 for a pair including valve stems. They hit the market at the end of March.

Cushcore’s existing lineup includes the Pro (26-, 27.5-, and 29-inch compatibility, 2.1- to 2.6-inch tires, 22-35mm rim widths) and the Plus (27.5-inch compatibility, 2.6- to 3.0-inch ties, 32-45mm rim widths).

Revel Rail and Rascal

“Have you ridden the new Revel bikes?”

You couldn’t walk five feet at the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival without hearing that question bounce between a group of two or more riders. And indeed, the entire demo fleet was often absent from the Revel tent entirely, with a steady stream of riders eager to try the new bikes on Sedona’s red-dirt trails.

Revel launched not just the bikes, but its entire brand, at the festival. Revel’s owner and founder, Adam Miller, also owns Why Cycles, maker of titanium mountain, road, and gravel bikes. He also previously founded Borealis Fat Bikes.

But full-suspension mountain bikes are where his heart lies, he told VeloNews, so it only seemed fitting he should dive into that market next. Miller took his time, spending three years developing Revel’s initial offerings and partnering with some of the most experienced designers in the space, including Jeremiah Starkey (formerly a design engineer with SRAM/RockShox) and Chris Canfield.

Canfield supplied the suspension design, called Canfield Balance Formula, or CBF. Revel exclusively licenses the dual-pivot design, which addresses the center of curvature — the path of the instant center throughout the bike’s travel. CBF isolates the center of curvature to a small area above the chainring, which, according to Starkey, helps ensure all of your pedaling power goes straight to the rear wheel, not to suspension movement.

There’s a lot more to these exciting bikes, which we cover a bit more in-depth in our Rail first ride review. You can read that here >>

Salsa Rustler

Bye bye, little horse.

Salsa dropped the “pony” from its Pony Rustler model and reimagined what the bike should be. The Rustler made its debut on day one of the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival, and it joins an entire lineup of mountain bikes that feature split-pivot suspension.

Dave Weagle’s name has gotten a lot of mentions at the festival, and for good reason: He has helped design most of the suspension systems on the market right now. Split Pivot is no exception. The Split Pivot system features a concentric dropout, which helps separate braking forces from your pedaling forces. It’s meant to limit how much the rear suspension will react to your pedaling power, as well as reaction to braking forces. In other words, your pedaling power goes to the drivetrain rather than to suspension movement, and braking forces shouldn’t affect the suspension’s movement.

It’s not a new system, and Salsa has used it on previous models. But the company says it has also improved the suspension’s leverage rate, so it ramps up toward the end of the stroke. This should provide more control on big hits.

The Rustler sports 130mm of rear travel and 150mm up front. The 27.5-inch platform accepts up to a 2.6-inch tire. And super-bonus: The front triangle has enough space for a water bottle. See? The bike industry is really listening to you!

Esker Elkat

Esker may not have been born at the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival, but it’s still in its nascent stages, having been in business for less than a year. Esker is just about ready to start shipping its first bike, the Elkat. It’s a looker for sure, with an aesthetically striking downtube and a stout, smooth rear triangle.

It’s a 150mm frame mated to a 150mm or 160mm fork, and it’s based on Dave Weagle’s Orion suspension system. The Orion system is a dual-link platform that helps improve lateral stiffness and address braking forces for better control.

According to Elkat’s website, the Orion suspension system relies less on the rear shock itself to work efficiently. That helps keep the price low by offering builds that don’t need high-end shocks. Complete builds start at $4,000, which isn’t exactly cheap, but it is in line with many other carbon mountain bikes. They’re available for pre-order now.

Why Cycles PR

By our count, there was exactly one road bike on display at the festival in Sedona: Why Cycles’s PR (which stands for Pure Road). And while it seemed out of place among the knobby tires and suspension everywhere else, it managed to attract passersby with its sleek appearance, borne largely from the absence of shift cables.

The PR is built exclusively with SRAM eTap components, which means there are no holes, sleeves, bosses, or other cable routing options to speak of, aside from those used to run the hydraulic brake hose to the rear brake.

Everything about the PR capitalizes on modern trends: It’s got clearance for 32mm tires, it’s available as a disc-brake-only bike, and it only accepts wireless drivetrains, namely SRAM’s eTap. A 142×12 rear thru-axle, oversized head tube, and 27.2mm seatpost round out the PR’s details.

It’s titanium, so it’s pricey: Frames start at $2,600 and full builds go all the way up to $10,000. But it doesn’t get much sleeker than a titanium forever bike without a single shift cable to clutter up the beauty. And it certainly is beautiful — so much so that it caught the eyes of passing mountain bikers. That’s quite a feat.

Lazer Coyote helmet

This is an $80 helmet, but it looks like a high-end lid. Pick it up and the weight will impress: just 320 grams (size large). There’s nothing fancy about the Coyote, it’s just a sharp-looking lid without the bells and whistles. And that’s what’s so great about it. You get everything you need without emptying your wallet.

There’s no MIPS, but the Coyote does have Lazer’s Turnfit Plus system that snugs evenly around your head. And the big visor keeps tree branches from attacking your face. It looks well-vented, too, with 21 big inlet and exhaust vents. The Turnfit system also allows for an optional rear LED light.

The Coyote really transforms Lazer’s mountain bike offerings; it’s sleeker, lower-profile, and lighter. And boy, that price tag is really nice. We’re looking forward to giving this helmet a long-term test this summer.